Addis Ababa, Ethiopia July 11, 2012
“We will mobilize millions to name and shame African Governments who fail to implement AU standards, human rights instruments and shared values,” says SOTU coalition
State of the Union (SOTU), a coalition of 9 civil society organizations that advocates for the ratification, domestication and implementation of key African Union treaties and legal instruments, has called on all African states who have yet to ratify and implement three key AU instruments to do so before the next AU summit in January 2013.
SOTU has launched a campaign to get signatures across Africa to petition African Governments to deliver the commitments they have made at Africa Union. The petition, the first of the play for the Union Campaign, calls on Governments to ratify, domesticate and implement the African Charter on Democracy, Governance and Elections, the African Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa and act on increase long-term investment in agriculture and natural resource management to support small scale food producers in line with the AU Comprehensive Agriculture Development Programme.
The petition that is being driven by ordinary women and men in all regions of the continent has in the space of one week, engaged more than 15 thousand people and will continue for the next six months, until there is a real response from the AU and its member states. These citizens have been brought together by their love for their continent and their love for football, the most unifying sport in Africa.
Patrick ‘Magic’ Mboma, Olympic Champion and Two-time African Champion is the Goodwill Ambassador for the Play for the Union campaign, and has spent the past few months coaching a team of 22 Africans from around the continent on football as well as their responsibility to contribute to a just and prosperous continent. To him, the Africa Union has very little to show for its 10 years of existence. “It is a shame that to date, 39 states have yet to ratify the African Charter on Democracy, Governance and Election despite the recent experiences of Cote D’Ivoire, Mali, Senegal and Malawi. Africa is ill-prepared to manage the over eight elections coming up in the next year.”
Less than 30 Governments have ratified just one treaty over the period that it took to build the new African Union Commission headquarters. At this current rate, universal ratification of African Union treaties would not be complete before 2053, one hundred years after the formation of the AU’s predecessor, the Organisation of African Unity.
“15,000 supporters in less than a week is a clear indication that citizens want African Governments to move faster and adopt the shared values they have publicly declared. Over the next six months, we will bring the voices of African men and women into the exclusive corridors of the AU and national Governments,” says Jamillah Mwanjisi, SOTU coalition Coordinator.
The Play for the Union campaign initiated by the SOTU, uses football as an entry point to create strong citizen’s movements that monitor the implementation of the key instruments. 22 ordinary citizens were identified through a competitive process from 21 countries across the continent to create two teams that played the Grand Unity Match on July 7th, 2012 in Blantyre Malawi. 12,000 people who attended the match, signed the petition while the players collected over 3,000 signatures from their countries just before they
The petition further calls on African leaders to also ratify domesticate and implement the Africa protocol on the rights of women and to ensure that they have actionable plans to ending hunger and famine in Africa and avoid a repeat of the more than 18 million men, women and children from the Sahel region in West Africa who are currently who are suffering because of food shortages.
The petition will be released in 2013, the year that marks the tenth anniversary of the Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa and the fifth anniversary of the founding of the Organization of African Unity and the African Union.
For further information on the campaign go to
For more information or to arrange interviews or briefings in english or french, please contact:
In Addis: Elizabeth Equbay, firstname.lastname@example.org +251 911435673
In Nairobi: Alun McDonald, email@example.com +254 736666663
In Dakar: Charles Bambara, firstname.lastname@example.org, +251 912963910 / +221 776394178
Notes to the Editors
1. State of the Union Coalition coordinates the Play for the Union mobilization strategy. The coalition came together to monitor and advocate with Governments who have developed and adopted several instruments to accelerate the integration of African Government policies and programmes at the national level. Collectively, these new protocols, rights based policy standards and legal instruments hold African states to higher standards of performance. They range from governance, political, social and economic rights, to peace and security and development. Fourteen of them – ten legal instruments and four policy standards – if implemented, have tremendous promise for the lives of millions in Africa.
2. Patrick Mboma is Play for the Union Ambassador, team coach and football legend. Mboma is one of Cameroun’s football legends was born in Douala Cameroun in 1970. He started his career in 1990 playing for the French club PSG as a striker. He later moved to the French club La Berrichone de Chateauroux where he scored 17 goals and was crowned 3rd division French Champion in 1994. He moved to Japan to play for the Gamba Osaka club in 1998, and then returned to Europe in 1998 where he benefited from great recognition with the renowned Italian football club Parme and its European football legends. Mboma ended his career as a footballer of the year in 2004. Patrick Mboma is now a successful sports consultant and agent for the Cameroun Federation of Football. He also is a very successful businessman and an active political spokesperson on Africa. He is the General Director for Hope Finance, an organization which injects important investments in local African businesses, support African entrepreneurs and offers overall simple solutions to improve the day to day life of Africans. His proven record of activism and valuable democratic investments towards the development of the continent’s economic sector makes him an ideal ambassador in support of the African Union’s cause on matters of continental welfare.
3. For a list of upcoming elections see http://www.eisa.org.za/WEP/calendar.htm
4. A background to the AU Standards and instruments. Established in 2001, The African Union brings together 54 Governments under the vision of a united, peaceful and prosperous continent. The 33 articles of the Constitutive Act of the African Union outline the goals, governing principles, structure and administrative functions of the African Union. The common denomination linking and underlying all the articles is the core concept of safeguarding and improving the level of respect for the shared values, which exposes a set of reciprocal rights and duties between African governments and their people.
The problem however lies in national Government’s failure to comply with the African Union’s decisions on integration, development and people’s rights. The lack of accountability systems monitoring the compliance of each African state has lead to the slow ratification and implementation of numerous African Union instruments. In the mean time, the gap between policies and reality keeps expending. It is within this continental climate that the Play for the Union campaign emerges to offer a platform from which the influencing capacity of citizens can grow.
The ten Instruments and four policy frameworks
- The African Youth Charter
- African Charter on Human and People’s Rights in Africa
- African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance
- African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child
- African Convention on the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources
- African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption
- Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa
- Revised African Convention on the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources
- Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community
- Protocol to the Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community relating to the Pan- African Parliament
- The African Health Strategy 2007-2015
- NEPAD Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Plan (CAADP)
- Abuja Call for Accelerated Action towards Universal Access to HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Services by 2010
- Maputo Plan of Action for the Operationalisation of the Continental Policy Framework for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights 2007-2010
For more information on AU Treaties http://www.au.int/en/treaties
What do they contain
- Twelve years of Government meetings at a cost of US$10 million to you and me
- A promise to Africa by our Heads of States
- Progressive concepts of peoples participation, rights, freedoms, responsibilities, opportunities and choices for all without discrimination
- Directives to states to disclose information, to manage public monies responsibly, to involve citizens, to promote and protect the rights and freedoms the core of Government policy and budgets (10% for agriculture, 15% for health, reduced funding for defence)
- Standards for key political, economic and social rights (speak, be heard, be involved, elect or be elected freely, meet, move, education, health, agriculture, maternal health, non-discrimination, peace)
- Standards for citizens to be educate themselves, act responsibly, vote, stand, be proactive citizens, manage the environment
Yet, the Reality in Africa is
- More women in political and public office, children in schools, less conflict, more elections
- 7/10 fastest growing economies in the world in Africa yet, 360 million people live in poverty and only 36 million earn more than US$10 a day
- Despite key social policy standards including the Dakar Framework for Action-Education For All: Meeting Our Collective Commitments (2000), the Abuja Declaration on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Other Related Infectious Diseases (2001), the Maputo Plan of Action for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights 2007-2010 (2006) and the Africa Health Strategy: 2007–2015, huge inequities exist between urban and rural, rich and poor people with ten of thousands in urban areas without security, water or sanitation.
- Two out of every five men and women die of infectious diseases, one in sixteen women die at child-birth and one in three children out of school.
- Since 1963, only twenty-five treaties out of the forty-two treaties adopted by African Governments have come into force.
- Mali, Rwanda, Niger, Libya, Senegal and Burkina Faso (in this order) have ratified the most instruments and the best performers (more than twenty-six ratifications)
- Sao Tome, Somalia, Eritrea, Saharawi Republic, Central Africa and Cape Verde have ratified the least instruments and the worst performers (less than ten ratifications)
- Although adopted by 26 Governments, the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Plan (2003) is yet to seriously impact on food security in Africa. 44 countries currently import 25% of their food needs and over 300 million people are denied the right to food. The recent price food hikes in 2011 pushed 28 million people further into poverty. Further, deforestation and climate change leave us no choice to adapt